Definition of desolate
- a desolate widow
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a desolate house abandoned many years ago
destitute and desolate since her husband walked out on her
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'desolate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Something that is desolate is literally or figuratively "abandoned," so you probably won't be surprised to learn that "desolate" has its roots in the Latin verb desolare, meaning "to abandon." The Middle English word desolat comes from the past participle of "desolare," which in turn combines the prefix de- and the adjective solus, meaning "alone." "Desolate" is not at all alone in this family of words. Some other familiar descendants of "solus" include "solitary," "sole," "solo," "solitude," and "soliloquy."
black, bleak, cheerless, chill, cloudy, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, dire, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, elegiac (also elegiacal), forlorn, funereal, gloomy, glum, godforsaken, gray (also grey), lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, saturnine, sepulchral, solemn, somber (or sombre), sullen, sunless, wretched;
totally desolated the city with aerial bombs
beat, best, clobber, conquer, crush, defeat, drub, lick, master, overbear, overcome, overmatch, prevail (over), rout, scotch, skunk, subdue, surmount, thrash, trim, triumph (over), trounce, wallop, whip, win (against);
: lacking the people, plants, animals, etc., that make people feel welcome in a place
: very sad and lonely especially because someone you love has died or left
: to make (someone) feel very sad and lonely for a long time
: to damage (a place) in such a way that it is no longer suitable for people to live in
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